Between a costly Denver hailstorm and ongoing CDOT construction, Coloradans can agree: 2017 was a stressful year. To recover, try a silent meditation retreat at a local standby like the Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes. Of course, for rookies, all that quiet time might get heady.

Fear not. These tips will help you embrace your mental reset and tackle 2018 with a clear head—because if it’s anything like last year, you’re gonna need it.

  • Feel The Pain: Sitting for long periods can make your body ache worse than it does after hitting the moguls on Winter Park’s Drunken Frenchman run. Solution: Suck it up, but don’t be a martyr. You don’t get extra dharma points for sitting without a cushion, so use props for comfort or sit in a chair. Also, incorporate stretching, yoga, or walks into your retreat routine.
  • Say Bye-Bye To WiFi: Before you depart for a retreat, get your personal and professional responsibilities in order so you can truly let go. Shut off your phone—you’ll be pleasantly surprised how enlightening it is not to receive notifications about President Donald Trump’s latest tweet.
  • Try This At Home: Before you commit to 72 hours of lip-zippering and mind-quieting, practice at home with smartphone apps like Headspace and Calm, which offer guided meditation sessions. Alternatively, local studios like the Lotus, which opened in Baker in August, host beginner classes or workshops to help you hone your deep-breathing techniques (provided the 2017 wildfires have been extinguished).
  • Let The Love (And Hate) Flow Through You: Retreats are intimate experiences, and you may notice strong feelings toward your fellow attendees. It’s common to develop a crush (hey there, limber yogini) or have a nemesis (you’re killing me, dude with crystal necklace and man bun). Instead of focusing on those feelings, explore the reasons why they arise and recognize that the stories you create are likely fiction. After all, nonverbal flirting is not what they mean by “connecting on a deeper level.”
  • Take It Easy, Man: After your retreat, give yourself a day or two to decompress. The world will likely feel chaotic, and more existential thoughts will surface—probably while you’re sitting in the conga line of cars on I-25. When sharing your experience with others, remember to keep the retelling simple. Otherwise, you risk sounding like a University of Colorado Boulder freshman in Philosophy 101, high on the discovery of Plato and Aristotle—and weed.